Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: glennd3 on January 30, 2021, 06:06:56 AM

Title: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 30, 2021, 06:06:56 AM
I am in the process of refinishing/repairing the steps. The top steps are in good shape and I have sanded, applied 1st coat of cetol. See Pictures. I am going to replace the tread piece for the top step, see picture. The PO had the tread in place and I never slipped on the step so I am going to keep it. I am going to fill the other steps groves with either caulk or wood filler as others have done.
 Now for the problem, The bottom steps are mounted on plywood and it is separating at the bottom. It will only get worse and need to be replaced. Pictures coming. I looked on the site and cannot find any threads on this repair. I plan on replacing the plywood which will force me to replace screw plugs, new for me. I have also ordered sound proofing from Defender because mine is degrading.
 
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Noah on January 30, 2021, 08:35:10 AM
Glenn- you may have gotten ahead of yourself if you intend to “fill” the grooves with something. Probably would stick much better if the grooves were sanded to bare wood, not coated with Cetol, before applying “filler”?? Not sure what you mean regarding steps on plywood, so I looking forward to more pics.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: mark_53 on January 30, 2021, 11:00:30 AM
My steps have non skid between the groves. Have never slipped.  No need to fil.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: waughoo on January 30, 2021, 11:13:23 AM
I would be inclined to fill with black deck caulking just to keep the debris from lingering.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Stu Jackson on January 30, 2021, 11:13:36 AM
The "fill" concept was originated as early as 1988, in this Mainsheet article:  https://c34.org/mainsheet/images/Pg20+21a.jpg

The idea was to avoid having the slits collect dirt.  We used this method to fill ours.

I haven't found the steps to be slippery at all, although I always use the great handholds that we all have at the sides of the companionway.  Just a good habit I got into.  Probably the only one in my entire life!   :clap

Alex, we like the lighter min-wax because it echoes the teak & holly sole.  I've been on boats that used black, and I just didn't like it.  Before you use black, consider that the concept was to avoid dirt in the slits which would have been, uh, black!  :D
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 30, 2021, 11:26:03 AM
I went to the boat and brought the bottom steps home. I also grabbed some marine plywood to replace the split plywood. see pictures. I have to wait for my neighbor, Newman, to come home from goose hunting with my number 2 son to cut the plywood. He is one of those guys that when he does something it has to be perfect. Note the plywood is 3/4 and approx 21 1/4 x 24 1/4. I will post pictures of removing the steps from the plywood next.

Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 30, 2021, 11:30:45 AM
Stu I really like that look.


The "fill" concept was originated as early as 1988, in this Mainsheet article:  https://c34.org/mainsheet/images/Pg20+21a.jpg

The idea was to avoid having the slits collect dirt.  We used this method to fill ours.

I haven't found the steps to be slippery at all, although I always use the great handholds that we all have at the sides of the companionway.  Just a good habit I got into.  Probably the only one in my entire life!   :clap

Alex, we like the lighter min-wax because it echoes the teak & holly sole.  I've been on boats that used black, and I just didn't like it.  Before you use black, consider that the concept was to avoid dirt in the slits which would have been, uh, black!  :D
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: waughoo on January 30, 2021, 12:01:12 PM
Before you use black, consider that the concept was to avoid dirt in the slits which would have been, uh, black!  :D

Duely noted Stu!!
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Ron Hill on January 30, 2021, 12:41:35 PM
Guys : I wrote an article in the Mainsheet Tech notes m(w/pictures) on taping on anti skid strips - Easy to maintain.  I added the strips after a friends wife took a header against the galley woodwork after slipping on a wet step!!  The anti skid strips are white so you can even see them at night.

A thought
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Craig Illman on January 31, 2021, 06:08:29 AM
I had filled mine with leftover Dow 795 (black) from doing the fixed portlights. I think it worked well. Sorry I don't have any pictures.

Craig
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 31, 2021, 02:21:10 PM
We cut the plywood today, just a little wider than the old panel. I can hit it with a belt sander for a final fit when I get to the boat. The insulation was shot and easy to remove however messy. The bottom step attached with 8 bolts/screws which luckily I was able to remove without taking the wood plugs out. The top step however I had to remove 2 of the plugs. Both steps took some prying to release as 30 years left them securely stuck together. I plan to line the 2 pieces of plywood together and drill the holes to reattach the steps. If I am successful I will have dodged a bullet only having to remove 2 plugs.  I am leaning towards filling the step grooves with wood filler. I like Stu's suggestion that it looks like teak and holly. I also have to play with my scrap plywood to get the right color to match. Anyway here are some pictures not in any order.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 31, 2021, 02:22:50 PM
more
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on January 31, 2021, 02:23:58 PM
more
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Noah on January 31, 2021, 03:04:39 PM
Glenn- “Generally” if you drill a pilot hole into the seated/existing plug and insert a small screw into the top of it, when you turn the screw it will bottom out against the buried screw and pop the plug out cleanly as you screw in. This usually works, unless the plugs are firmly glued in. Then you will need to use a chisel, small pocket knife, or other weapon.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Ron Hill on January 31, 2021, 03:28:04 PM
Guys : When I first got my C34 in 1989 I saw the problem of the unfinished cut edge at the bottom of the vertical plywood steps piece.  I sealed that cut edge with varnish and added a strip of stained oak 1/4 round to the front!   :thumb:

After my friends wife took a header into the galley, I'm a firm believer in anti skid.  The steps are functional steps to be walked ON - Not a piece of furniture!   :shock:


A few thoughts

Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Noah on January 31, 2021, 03:43:10 PM
How about a compromise? Do your Minwax filler for teak and holly look and for anti-dirt collection in the grooves, and THEN add some nonskid strips or treads on top of that?
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Admiral_Swellson on February 01, 2021, 07:54:45 AM
How about a compromise? Do your Minwax filler for teak and holly look and for anti-dirt collection in the grooves, and THEN add some nonskid strips or treads on top of that?

That's what I'm thinking of doing when I refinish my steps. Found this online which might be both functional and better looking than black sandpaper.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K8WTKFF?pf_rd_r=8P4PK5TXH71F7E6Y5WGG&pf_rd_p=5ae2c7f8-e0c6-4f35-9071-dc3240e894a8&pd_rd_r=b5dc5ae7-0abe-4e7c-bd87-93dee86b15f7&pd_rd_w=GiHvG&pd_rd_wg=yMUE9&ref_=pd_gw_unk
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Craig Illman on February 02, 2021, 12:56:48 PM
found my picture from about 12 years ago.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Jon W on February 02, 2021, 04:09:44 PM
Beautiful companionway stairs, I'm jealous.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: waughoo on February 02, 2021, 07:03:45 PM
I have to say... that black line and gloss varnish is pretty compelling.  I've been considering the salt sprinkle in the top coat for traction.  I think taping off stripes between the black caulking might be the way to go.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 06, 2021, 06:39:59 AM
I have stripped the bottom 2 steps with paint stripper then sanded and teak brightener.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: waughoo on February 06, 2021, 09:37:00 AM
Looks nice!!  I was just looking at mine last night and thinking about your project.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 07, 2021, 10:28:58 AM
Dont pick me apart too much! I am attempting to fill the grooves with plastic wood and I am not sure how it will end. The product dries quickly and starts to pull out so I am wetting my fingers a little like you would with caulk. I am also trying to use stains, red mahogany and red cherry, and cetol on the plywood to match the steps. I am not looking for a perfect match because at the end of the day I will be the only one that notices. I put the same none slip pad on the top step as I had before. I have not slipped on the steps since owning the boat and I believe the top step to be the ball breaker. I did use Brasso on the brackets that attach the steps, cleaned up nicely. I may still look at caulking or leaving clean the grooves. Some pictures, no order. Snowing here in Maryland.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 07, 2021, 10:36:19 AM
more
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 07, 2021, 10:42:07 AM
found my picture from about 12 years ago.

These steps are beautiful.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 13, 2021, 04:59:02 PM
I have one step finished.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: PaulJacobs on February 15, 2021, 10:23:34 AM
This forum is terrific!  On these cold winter nights, with Pleiades on the hard, I have been going though about 20 years worth of tech notes and recent forum items.  One that really caught my interest was the idea of using plastic wood to fill the grooves in our companionway stairs.  For years Nancy and I have spent umpteen hours cleaning dust and dirt out of them manually, since we are on a mooring and don't have access to a "real" vacuum cleaner (we have tried 12 volt portable vacuums with marginal results).  When cruising, it seemed that we would barely get the grooves clean, and by the next day they were dirty all over again! :cry4`

So, when I saw this forum, with the photographs I decided to "do it"!  I took home the upper two-step portion of the companionway stairs. I then unscrewed the brass "catches" that secure the upper companionway steps to the inside of the forward end of the cockpit, filed and fine sanded them to remove all crud and mild casting artifacts (hey, it was a long winter night!). Next, I sanded everything with 220 grit sandpaper, on a sanding block - front, back, the twin steps, inside sides, outside sides and even the under-step reinforcements.  Then I used 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around a Phillips screwdriver to sand inside every groove - taking great care not to round the edges of the grooves.  This was a bit tedious, but probably took less than an hour. Next, I used a 1" wide putty knife to spread the DAP "Light Oak" plastic wood filler into the grooves.  Since the filler shrinks slightly on curing, I had to sand off the excess (the stuff sands quite easily), refill, re-sand, and finally touch-up any rough sports, apply a third and final application, and then sand the steps until completely smooth.

Then, I vacuumed everything, wiped three times with a tack rag, and applied a first coat of Epifanes "satin finish" varnish thinned with 15% mineral spirits, and using a badger-hair brush applied the first coat of varnish in our basement at about 9 am yesterday morning.  Without any intermediate sanding, when "tacky" I applied the second coat of Epifanes "satin" varnish thinned this time with 10% mineral spirits at 1 pm.  Then, same process for the third coat at about 5 pm, and finally applied the fourth and final coat around 9 pm last night. 

This morning, the upper portion of the companionway is dry and looks ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! :clap :clap.

I plan to return to Pleiades in a few days, put the upper portion of the companionway steps back in place, and take home the lower two-step portion --- and repeat the process.  What a great wintertime project! :santa
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 19, 2021, 08:43:41 AM
I stopped filling the bottom steps. I am not sure the wood filler will hold so I am going to use the top steps as a test this year. I used the old plywood as a template for the holes to attach the steps. I did not have to remove the bolts from the bottom step.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 20, 2021, 11:13:55 AM
I stopped filling the bottom steps. I am not sure the wood filler will hold so I am going to use the top steps as a test this year. >>>>>>>>>>>>>

In Reply #4, I included a picture of our steps.  My wife put that wood filler there in 1998 or 1999.  That picture was taken in 2017.  Your plan may make sense, but my experience differs.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 20, 2021, 04:57:48 PM
I was able to pop the filler out easily. I think if you cut a ridge in the side of the groove it would help keep the filler in place.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Noah on February 20, 2021, 05:43:20 PM
Glenn, all “plastic wood” my not be equal? I believe Stu used this old standby.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BQL0WA/ref=cm_sw_r_oth_api_glt_fabc_GXX4EVXGERZSXT0QEYEM?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
What I found amusingly weird was the last random bullet point in the product description after “read more”:
“ This item is not for sale in Catalina Island” WTF?? Catalina Island??
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 21, 2021, 10:16:31 AM
Noah that clearly is the product I should have used because it cant be used on catalina island :shock: I used the plastic fill and it shrank. I am close to being finished. I still have to put on the new insulation. some pictures:
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Noah on February 21, 2021, 12:22:07 PM
You did a beautiful job anyway Glenn!
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on February 25, 2021, 05:05:52 PM
Finished insulation, some pictures

Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: glennd3 on March 11, 2021, 01:13:04 PM
Put the steps in today, some photos
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Ekutney on March 11, 2021, 06:04:21 PM
Most of the C34 pics I have seen have a similar step configuration.  My early C34 has a bit different setup.
Title: Re: Companion way Steps
Post by: Ekutney on March 11, 2021, 06:07:55 PM
Pics of my companionway.